With two days to go in the Ontario election, there’s only one certainty for election night – and that’s uncertainty.
Most political analysts, pundits and columnists believe Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals will be defeated on June 7. The question is by how much. Some believe they’ll be crushed and others think Wynne’s decision to concede the election – a last-ditch attempt to save party status – might protect a few seats.
There’s also a possibility that Mike Schreiner, leader of the Green Party of Ontario, could win his seat in Guelph, while Trillium Party MPP Jack MacLaren holds on to his Carleton-Mississippi Mills riding. The former is more likely than the latter. Whether both win, one wins or neither wins will be determined shortly.
The biggest remaining wild card is whether Doug Ford and the Progressive Conservatives, or Andrea Horwath and the New Democrats form the next government.
The polls have been all over the map. Both parties have had large leads, small leads and been in a dead heat in popular support. Current polls have the PCs with a 38-37 lead in Forum (June 2) and Pollara (June 3), while EKOS shows a 38.6-34.9 edge (May 31). The NDP lead 37-33 with Abacus (June 2) and 37.1-36.1 with CBC (June 3).
Who’s ahead right now? Your guess is as good as mine.
In terms of potential seat projections, which most polling firms have stopped doing, the CBC suggests the PCs will win 69 out of 124 seats, the NDP 32 and the Liberals three. This means 20 seats are in the range of too close to call. The probability of a PC majority is at a whopping 79.3 per cent.
As CBC poll analyst Éric Grenier wrote on June 3, “Andrea Horwath’s NDP has a narrow lead over Doug Ford’s PCs, but despite the close race in the popular vote the PCs have a better regional distribution of that vote and so are favoured to win more seats.”
This is unusual territory for a Canadian election.
The party leading in popular support tends to win the most seats in a first-past-the-post electoral system. That’s not always the case, as evidenced in some federal elections: 1926 (Tories won the popular vote but lost the seat count to the Liberals), 1957 (Liberals won the popular vote but lost the seat count to the Tories) and 1979 (same as 1957 result). Several provinces, including Saskatchewan (1986, 1999), B.C. (1996), Quebec (1998) and New Brunswick (2006) have experienced this split, too.
Ontario could join the list this week.
Who’s the best choice to form the next government?
The NDP would be a nightmarish left-wing replacement for the already left-wing Liberals. Horwath wants to spend $1.2 billion on a universal pharmacare. She’s proposed a child care plan that would surely cost a pretty penny. She wants to increase corporate taxes on businesses and hike personal income taxes for high earners. She’s also refused to support back-to-work legislation for public employees such as teachers.
Meanwhile, she has candidates who aren’t fit enough to go to the washroom without raising their hands, let alone hold elected office. Some have spoken out against poppies, veterans, the second amendment and holding down regular work, while one candidate may (or may not) have sent out a Hitler meme on social media.
Hence, the better choice would be the PCs.
Yes, they’ve had a few pitfalls during the campaign, including the 407 ETR data breach, the long wait for a fiscal plan and controversial candidate statements. Nevertheless, Ford is, by far, the best choice to reduce government, decrease taxes, fix the Hydro One mess, support more free enterprise and transit funding, and open up the province for business again.
That’s why I voted for Ford to become Ontario’s next premier. Will others follow suit? Stay tuned.
Troy Media columnist and political commentator Michael Taube was a speechwriter for former prime minister Stephen Harper.
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